In work that gives cranky teenagers another reason to blame their parents for all life’s woes, researchers have uncovered a genetic link to happiness.
The study of more than 2,500 Americans revealed two variants of a gene that influenced how satisfied – or dissatisfied – people were with their lot. Those born with two long versions of the gene (one is passed down from each parent) were more likely to declare themselves “very satisfied” with life than those who inherited two short versions. The study marks a tentative step towards explaining the mystery of why some people seem naturally happier than others.
“This gives us more insight into the biological mechanisms that influence life satisfaction,” said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
“If you’re feeling down, you can say it’s your biology telling you life is less rosy that it is,” he added.
A greater understanding of happiness genes might in future allow would-be parents to create a child who will be more satisfied with their life.